Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas Postcard to our Grandson

Dear Tristan,

Your first Christmas is almost here. There are lights around your front door and a tree in your living room. Your stocking has been hung and there are brightly wrapped presents for you. Although many photos will be taken to mark the day you won’t remember this Christmas but you will hold onto the best present of all: the love of your family. Your parents, Nana & Grandpa, Aunt Alyssa, Uncle Adam & Aunt Stephanie will all laugh with you, cuddle you and hold you on their laps for a book or two. They will be there to guide and support you throughout your life.  Have fun on your first Christmas and all those Christmases to come. 

Love, Nana

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Christmas Postcard to my Cousins,

Dear Cousins,

Merry Christmas! Do you remember our mothers putting us in special new clothes & bundling us in heavy coats & hats for our trip through the snow? I remember my mother saying we could only take one new toy with us when the family dinner was at your house. It was a hard decision. Do you remember playing with our toys in my bedroom so our brothers would not bother us? I remember our mothers cutting up bits of turkey for the littlest of us and helping all of us into our chairs around a crowded table. The meal was always delicious. Do you remember watching Christmas shows on television and asking for a piece of pie & a piece of cake? We don’t always see each other on Christmas now. We are busy with our own children and grandchildren. But when we do see each other it is like the calendar has been turned backwards and we are just cousins having fun.

I’ll be thinking of you on Christmas! Love, Colleen

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Postcard to Nana

Dear Nana,

When I remember childhood Christmases I remember you. Before the holidays you got busy with your large black scissors and your treadle powered Singer sewing machine. You turned soft flannel fabrics into cozy pajamas for us, your grandchildren. You turned cheerful cotton fabrics into shirts for my brothers and pretty little dresses for me.Then you wrapped them up to surprise us. I loved the special touches you added to my dresses, pastel ribbons or buttons shaped like kitties or ducks. Your love for us went into every stitch.

I remember shopping with our mom to buy you warm sweaters and the raspberry candies you loved, hard candies with soft centers. We made sure you always had some for the holidays. I look for those every year. Putting out a dish of those candies is like having you for a visit.

You spent every holiday with us. You only lived a few miles away but you would sleep over so you could see our faces on Christmas morning when we first saw the tree and the presents beneath. You’d share my bed with me and we could cuddle.

Those were wonderful times together. Now that I am a Nana I hope that I can show my grandson all the love you showed to us. 

With never ending love, your one & only granddaughter, Colleen

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Christmas Postcard to my Brothers

Dear Brothers,

Merry Christmas! I am looking forward to seeing you and your families in a few days. It is always fun to celebrate our ‘Brown Family Christmas’ together. Of course, when we were younger we celebrated on December 25th beginning with presents under the tree alongside our parents and a big dinner with our extended family. Now we share Christmas with our own families and set another date for our Brown family Christmas. The holiday would not be the same if we did not get a chance to visit with and tease each other.  We will crowd around a busy kitchen and get in the way of whoever is cooking. There won’t be enough room on the table for all the food & we will have to improvise something for one more chair. You will all be annoyed with me for taking millions of pictures & there will be toys wherever we want to step. In general we will do our best to act like four siblings who love each other.

See you soon,

Your favorite [only!] Sister

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Genealogy Christmas Gifts

Many of us look for methods to share our genealogy findings with the rest of the family. One method I have found is making & giving Family Calendars. Each year the family gets very excited to unwrap the calendar and turn the pages.

When I began making the calendars I wanted two things.

  •     I wanted to be able to add lots of photos on the ‘top’ page of the calendar. I also wanted the ability to add text and seasonal graphics.
  • On the ‘bottom’ page of the calendar I wanted to add family birthdays, anniversaries, upcoming weddings & graduations, etc. I wanted to put photos in the boxes with the birthday and anniversary messages.

The first calendar I made was in 2005 for the 2006 calendar year. I used Kodak Easy Share Gallery to create it. There were few layout options & I could only put four photos on a page. There were no options to write about birthdays in the date boxes on the calendar.

Next I used & the calendar looked nice but I wanted more options.  I looked online at many websites before deciding to use My Publisher. I used them for several years until they changed the size of the calendar. I wasn’t happy with the smaller size. I do still use them for making books & am very pleased with them.

Now I use Mixbook. It is very versatile. Some of their styles include: Seasonal, Whimsical, Classic, Vintage, Modern & Instagram. You can make a square or a landscape calendar. I make the 12” x 12” square calendar [which is 12” x 24” when it hangs ope]n. I begin with a blank calendar & do my own layouts & themes.

CALENDAR COVER [above]. Here are examples of covers I made. In 2014 I used photographs of my brothers & I over the years, stickers & text with a quote. This year I am using a single group photo on the cover of the calendar for our children. 

TOP PAGES [above]. I use a combination of photos from the preceding year, vintage family photos & seasonal photos to decorate the top section of each calendar month. Mixbook lets you use one photo, none or as many photos as you like. The background can be textured, a solid color, or a graphic. I use something simple because I want the photos to be the star of the page. There are hundreds of stickers, or graphics, at your fingertips. I find that too many graphics take space away from my photos so I use them sparingly. The examples above show my aunt's 80th birthday party, a family tree & our son's wedding.

BOTTOM PAGES [above]. The bottom of each month has the calendar. You can “Manage Events”. In the drop down box you can select holidays you want to include. Then you can add as many birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, vacations, graduations, etc. as you want. The focus of my calendars is my brothers & I so I include any special days that relate to the four of us, our children, grandchildren, our cousins, aunts & uncles, our parents, grandparents, etc. We can all keep track of upcoming birthdays and remember those who went before us. It is possible to add photos in the boxes that have no numbers as well.

My family looking at their new calendars.

I work on these calendars all year long, adding new photos as each month passes. My brothers send me photos and, of course, I carry my camera everywhere. Not only do these calendars share important family events and photos, they are also a record of the family’s previous year’s events.

My niece & grandniece looking at the calendar.

Do you make any genealogy gifts for your family?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Time to Write

I will  continue with my notes on this topic after the holidays.

Meanwhile, please read my Christmas posts.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Time to Write: #4 an Index

Genealogy books need a Table of Contents and an Index to make their use easier. I want both in the book I am writing about my mother’s family, ‘Remembrances’. I am using Microsoft Word 2010 for my manuscript.

What to Include
To decide what items to include in my index I thought about trips I have taken to libraries & archives. When I pull books off the shelves there what would I like to find in those indices?

Locations; towns, counties, etc.

Female Names
Names of females present problems because names usually change with marriage. I want to make the women in my family easy to find in my book. In the index I list them by maiden name. I wonder if I should also list them by married name in the index. It would be more complicated but I wonder if it would be more useful.

In the pages of the book I use this: Helen F. (Coyle) Gardner
In the index I use this:                     Coyle, Helen F. (Gardner)

Insert Index
It was not difficult to go to the end of my document, click on the Reference tab & click Insert Index. There are, of course, options. My index is fairly basic. I just want it to be easy to read & use. I do use the two column option. One column leaves lots of white space on each page & three columns do not give enough space for long names. 

Having said that inputting an index is easy, inputting each name is VERY time consuming. One chapter at a time I read through my work carefully looking for those names & places I want included in the index. Highlight each entry; go to the Reference Tab; in the Index section click ‘Mark Entry’. Then in the Main Entry box type the way you want this entry to appear in the index. For example, if you highlight Joe Brown you probably want the Main Entry to be Brown, Joe. Type it in the box. Then click either ‘Mark’ or ‘Mark All’ which will automatically include all Joe Brown references in the manuscript.

I have sections in my Index that are a step more complicated. I have cemeteries listed under the topic Cemeteries with the locations beneath. If you want to do this highlight the name of the cemetery; click on Mark Entry; put the name of the cemetery in the Subentry box & the word Cemeteries in the Main Entry box. I have done the same with Churches, Ships & Soldiers.

Youtube has several videos showing the Index steps clearly. I suggest looking at one for details.

Update Index
As with my Table of Contents, as I add and revise my manuscript I update my Index. Just go to the Index, click on it to highlight it; go to the Reference Tab, Index section & click on Update Index.

Your Thoughts?